Seasons of Life
by Dr. Jon Repole, DC, NC, HHP, CPT, CFMP
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
We all participate and experience various seasons in our lives. Some individuals may be carrying the weight, darkness, and heaviness of the world upon their shoulders (season of winter) while others are motivated, driven, and on-purpose (season of summer). Understanding your current season of life could be one of the most helpful tools in balancing the struggles between the energies of being and doing. Just like our health, our lives move cyclically (albeit a more chaotic looking circle) from fear to safety to growth. The cycles can be seen in both the macrocosm of our life (infancy to adulthood) and the microcosm of a particular year. Taking a step even further and allowing ourselves to drop down from our previous “bird’s eye view,” we can now see the cycles repeat once more in the macrocosm of a day to the microcosm of a single moment.
Each stage or season comes with their own lessons, gifts, darkness, needs acquisition, trials and tribulations. As you read over the following seasonal descriptors, try and reflect on your own life and see if you resonate with any of the stages. In short, our lives revolve around times of healing/being, of doing, and of transformation. Trying to resist a season amounts to needless suffering – such as an individual trying to “DO” when they should “BE” in a season of healing and surrendering.
Winter / Healing/ Dark Night
This is the season of gestation. It is a time for nourishing oneself, a time for recovery, a time for pause, a time for rest, a time for hibernation, a time for healing, a time for reflection, a time for making meaning, and a time to embrace the transformative process that is occurring – the butterfly of the next season.
This season poises us to dream, imagine, and reflect. Possibilities abound but action is not required – the dreams are incubating. In short, this is the season of being.
The darkness of this seasons represents one’s plunge into the dark night of the soul. This is the metaphorical crucifixion. One’s heart is heavy. Confusion, anticipation, fear, grief, and anxiety abound. You are about to leave home along with all the securities and safety of the womb. Birth, however, awaits. What will the new season bring? Who will I become? ACIM states, “Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety.” One must trust in the energies of creation or the soon to come birthing process. We must simply BE, surrender, and patiently wait. All of the trials and tribulations of this season are, in fact, internal ones. It is OK to wait until you are ready. Just make peace with what is true right now. There will come a time when one will just know and the pain of staying exceeds the pain of moving forward – the season of spring.
Spring /Birth/Transformation/ Discovery
This is the season of birth, resurrection, and discovery. It is here where courage becomes stronger than the fear and darkness of winter allowing for the rebirth of the true Self. This is the time to take your first few steps into the great unknown. The possibilities, dreams, and musings of winter can now begin their ascent to actualization, to manifestation. We begin to trust in both the power that created us as well as our journey and growth into individuation and autonomy – imagine a parent holding on to their child’s hand while at the same time knowing the days are numbered and they will soon need to let go. This season, therefore, has one foot in being and one in doing.
The darkness of the season lies in resistance and attachments. It is important, therefore, that we embrace this season of life by letting go of the old and making room in our hearts and minds for the creative power to continue its ascension. This season is about saying YES to life by saying NO to past habits, beliefs, attachments, resistance, etc. that are no longer serving us. We have allowed the seeds of winter to spring forth so this is no time to cut the bamboo shoots that have sprouted.
This is a time for achievement, a time for growth, a time for celebration, and a time for manifestation. Fear dissolves and we feel liberated by the transition into autonomy and individuation. There is no conflict in this season – this is a time to get stuff done! This is the season of doing.
The darkness of the season is materialism, abandonment of the spiritual, habituation without meaning, chasing goals that are non-essential, becoming attached to outcomes rather than processes, experience, or the present moment. The light/gifts of achievement, in contrast, are done for both the joy of doing and the harvest that will come from the fruits of labor. These ideas are not mutually exclusive. One need not sacrifice happiness to some later date.
The time has now come to shed one’s skin for a metaphorical death. We can imagine emptying our chalice so that we can once again be filled by the great nectar of life. The wine is ready to be shared. This is the self-transcendent season where we find ourselves transcending our finite self for something greater than ourselves. We understand life’s interconnectedness. “Giving is receiving” is engrained within our soul. The harvest from summer, therefore, is plentiful and ready to be shared with all. We feel of sense of completion and a sense of accomplishment. We, however, have a bit more to do before winter arrives. This doing, however, is from a place of non-resistance for what is about to come next – the new season of change, the metaphorical death. This season, therefore, has one foot in doing and one in being.
Sometimes it’s important to evaluate our entire life through the lens of a particular season – the macrocosm. Sometime, however, it may helpful to evaluate our lives through the microcosm. In other words, as you look at life’s dimensions each one could be evaluated separately as to its current season appropriateness. For example, maybe it’s time to ignite the passions of summer into your personal life and to embrace a season of winter into your work life.
So ask yourself,
- Is this a time for healing your physical body? Mental body? Emotional body? Past traumas? If so, then surrender and BE.
- Is this a time for discovery? For allowing things to incubate? A time to dream? A time for idea making?
- Is this a time to reinvent yourself?
- Is this a time to put words into action or to get off the couch, so to speak?
- Is this a time or season to give back? To take care of others?